Google’s Android mobile operating system looks unbeatable, due to its low-cost services and frequently updated software that remains attractive to hardware makers, operators and users worldwide. With iOS, Windows and BlackBerry all seeing a drop in market share, is Apple’s latest flagship smartphone still able to compete in an increasingly frugal marketplace?
10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE IPHONE 6
- It’s tough being a mobile OS developer. According to Strategy Analytics, Android’s market share rose from 81.4 percent in Q3 2013 to 83.6 percent this year, while Apple’s market share fell year on year from 13.4 percent to 12.3 percent. Microsoft’s Windows Phone also had a rough quarter, claiming 3.3 percent of the smartphone market in Q3, down from 4.1 percent this time last year. BlackBerry is barely breathing.
- Apple’s relatively low market share – despite selling 39.3 million units of its latest iPhone 6 and iPhone Plus handsets – is due to its lack of presence in the affordable smartphone market. This is unlikely to change in the next few years, as Apple recently admitted that it has no plans to produce a budget smartphone.
- Apple has been enjoying worldwide recognition recently for its technological breakthroughs in its computers, phones and tablets, so it’s disappointing to see a lack of innovation with its latest flagship smartphone. Successor to the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 6’s biggest “game changer” is a new mobile payment service called “Apple Pay” and a one-handed feature called “Reachability”, which allows users to double tap the Home button to shift the entire UI (user interface) down to put UI elements at the top of the display within thumb’s reach.
- The iOS 8-powered iPhone 6 (from £539) is the smaller of the two models launched this year. It sports a 4.7-inch display, while the larger iPhone 6 Plus (from £619) accommodates a larger 5.5-inch display for those who need that extra real estate for getting work done. Screen size aside, the iPhone 6 is similar to its bigger sibling regarding the design and features, although the latter’s camera does include optical image stabilisation.
- The iPhone 6’s larger design doesn’t look that great – we miss the straight-edged design of the iPhone 5. Also, the plastic accents that allow the Wi-Fi signals to pass through are a distraction. On the plus side, the all-metal iPhone 6 is the company’s thinnest handset at only 6.9mm (the iPhone 5s measures 7.6mm). This is impressive considering the handset sports a much improved 4.7-inch Retina HD display (1334 x 750 resolution) – which produces improved contrast, better resolution and sharper details compared to the iPhone 5s – and a bigger 1810-mAh battery that boosts usage time to 14 hours compared to the 10-hour life of the iPhone 5s’s 1560-mAh battery.
- Colour variants remain the same at Silver, Gold and Space Grey, but non-expandable storage options for the iPhone 6 have been widened to 16GB, 64GB and 128GB, just like the larger iPhone 6 Plus. The downside is the lack of removable memory – such as microSD found on most high-end Android devices – especially with the iPhone 6’s ability to record 1080p HD at 60fps, or 240fps slow motion and time-lapse video.
- Apple has shifted the lock display button from the top to the right edge of the phone so that your fingers don’t have to reach out too far, the volume buttons are recessed, and the ringer switch is now smaller to make the phone look as skinny as possible. Unlike other flagships, such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z3, the Apple iPhone 6 does not come with rugged features such as water-proofing and dust-proofing. Added to which, its rounded metal design is cold and slippery to the touch.
- The iPhone 6 has been given a speed boost and houses Apple’s latest A8 system-on-chip processor which is backed up with 1GB of RAM. The 8MP iSight camera now comes with a dual LED flash and improved optics for better low-light photography and action photography. You can now capture photos and videos simultaneously, as well as integrate additional photo-editing apps to the default Photos app.
- Similar to the iPhone 5s, the fingerprint scanner works effortlessly (far better than that on the Galaxy S5) and is useful for quickly unlocking the screen and authorising payments on the App Store and with Apple Pay for cashless payments. Apple Pay is a new service that lets users make retail purchases by tapping the NFC-enabled iPhone 6 to wireless terminals in stores. Apple’s innovations have made it necessary for businesses to respond so that they can adapt quickly to the public’s new behaviours and expectations. There’s no reason to think that it will be any different with Apple Pay, and that the iPhone will soon become the only device that users need to manage their financial affairs.
- It’s great to see an iPhone finally come with a larger screen as it makes typing, reading and Web browsing more intuitive. The iPhone 6 will please Apple fans as it offers a faster yet familiar user experience, has a great display, a market-leading camera, and excellent call quality. On the downside it lacks real innovation, it’s not waterproof, you can’t expand the storage and you can’t use NFC for transferring data. Sure it’s the best iPhone to date, but it feels like Apple is losing the innovation race with Android.